Customer Service Tip of the Week

Grind it out Today for a Better Tomorrow - 8/11/20


It’s been said that You Learn Perseverance by Persevering.  You are becoming mentally tougher right now.  The pain and the difficulties and the change today are making you stronger for dealing with the uncertainties of tomorrow. We’re all having to be more flexible.  We are all facing less consistency, less Read more

Increase Research for Improved Customer Relations During COVID-19


What makes a relationship? Many actions can make or break a relationship, but all solid relationships require at least two things: Communication and Caring. And customer relationships are no different in this respect. No Communication = No Connection If we don’t have some frequency of dialogue with the customer, then we Read more

Never Before… - 8/4/20


The importance of customer service is at the forefront again in our economy.  We noticed this clearly in the early 2000s when the country’s economy struggled, and we noticed it again during the Great Recession several years later.  Today, with yet another set of unexpected and extreme economic challenges, Read more

Effectively Teach the Customer - 7/28/20


The 1985 Harris and Rosenthal research project conveyed what really improves student learning based on the interaction with the teacher.  The top two factors that teachers used to increase learning were (1) The duration of the interaction with the student and (2) The encouragement of the student.  In 3rd Read more

Meet on Equal and Even Ground - 7/21/20


“To be of most service to my brother, I must meet him on the most equal and even ground.”  Henry David Thoreau wrote this in 1841, and it applies almost 180 years later in customer service. We often talk about empathy, and empathy relates to an employee having an understanding Read more

When Customers are…Jerks - 7/14/20


Some people are a little extra…uh…difficult to deal with these days. Customers may have concerns or complaints – many of which are justified. But some customers act like…well…jerks. They’re not kind or understanding or have any idea how poorly they treat others. They’re obnoxious and yet, we still have Read more

Customers Appreciate Your Kindness - 7/7/20


The 3rd grade teacher had a phrase she used with her students. She wanted them to be “kind-hearted.” It was a phrase she used over and over again; no matter what she taught, this was an overriding emphasis on how she would communicate with students and how she expected Read more

6 Common Sense Responses to Customer Service Encounters - 6/30/20


I’ve run into this personally and professionally, and it drives me batty! Sometimes there’s a lack of common sense in the customer service provided by companies. And often that lack of common sense is due to the preference of a business to provide service in a certain method, to Read more

Caring for Co-workers through COVID - 6/23/20


A recent Buffer.com study asked employees who are working remotely due to COVID-19, what was their greatest struggle. While there were many different responses, the Top 2 totaled 40% of the struggles identified - Loneliness and Collaboration/Effective Communication. When you hear something like this - that individuals working remotely are Read more

React, Reflect, Respond - 6/16/20


Sometimes you can’t help it. You gasp. You get upset. You get angry. You have this look of shock on your face. You say something defensive. You react. I love people who are in customer service roles. These are the folks that people say things to in the business world Read more

When Employees Fight Over a Customer – 2/4/20

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There’s nothing like the feeling of comfort I get from a warm greeting at a business establishment.  A feeling of “you are my most important customer” and “I cannot wait to serve you” brings a tear to the eye of a customer service consultant.  But that’s not the only thing that can bring a tear to my eye.

Walking into a fast food restaurant, I stood back from the cashiers to determine what I wanted.  After deciding, I walked to the counter and the two cashiers, both of which were available.  This is how the conversation started:

  • Cashier #1:  “Can I help…oh, she’ll take your order.”
  • Cashier #2:  “No, she’ll take your order.”
  • Cashier #1:  “No, she’ll take your order.”
  • Cashier #2:  “No…well, okay.  What would you like?”

 

This dialogue would have been very flattering had they substituted “I” for “she,” but the conversation made it obvious that, even though neither was doing anything, they’d prefer continuing to do nothing rather than help me buy their product.

Sometimes we complain about how many companies and many employees are more task-focused than customer-focused.  But this company was more focused on inaction than action.  While we desperately hope this experience is a rarity in your business, there are things to learn from the interaction that can help any business succeed.

First, hire people with not only the attitude of wanting to help others but also the energy to act on those impulses.  Next, come up with a mantra that promotes productivity.  One restaurant tells its staff to remember during slow times that “if you’re leaning (against the wall) you should be cleaning.”  Finally, create a proactive work environment.  The more reactive a culture is, the more likely they are to be passive when there’s not a fire to fight.  Proactive cultures promote the seeking of action and progress.

Work to create an atmosphere of “I’ll take your order.”

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LOTS of Opportunities to Appreciate Customers – 1/28/20

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They give us their money, and we give them merchandise. We say “Thank you!”  That is the old-time stereotypical opportunity for a company to thank their customers.  But there are opportunities all day long for us to convey appreciation to our customers.

Beyond the actual transaction, there are so many situations where we can say thank you to the customer.  And we want to do that often, because without customers, we have no business.  We understand that in the vast majority of the cases, the customer could go elsewhere.  They want to feel valued and appreciated, so we want to find ways to convey that appreciation.

Whether you’re dealing with a request, a complaint, or just the customer’s involvement in some activity, you have an opportunity to appreciate the customer.

Convey appreciation to customers or co-workers for their requestThanks for your request.  Thanks for asking!

Convey appreciation for telling you a complaintThanks for bringing that to our attention.  I appreciate your telling us about this issue.

Convey appreciation for their participationIt’s great that you’ve been a part of this.  I appreciate your time and your engagement in the process.

It is not hard to say thanks, but it is often one of the most forgotten aspects of communication with customers.  They are not a box in our process flow; a customer is an individual that wants to feel valued and appreciated.  So we want to make sure that we are not only appreciating them, but we are telling them so.

There are many opportunities to appreciate the customer throughout the day.  Identify them, and act on them so the customer feels how much you value them and their business.

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When Jack Gave Arnie a Tip – 1/21/20

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Jack Nicklaus may have been the greatest golfer ever.  Many think that Arnold Palmer was the most important golfer of the 20th century.  These two greats were contemporaries, so they became competitors and friends all at once.  And when somebody who is one of the greatest of all time gives you advice, you should take it, right?

Since these players spoke thousands of times over the years on the golf course, advice was often shared.  One day, Jack walked over to Arnie on the practice range, and since Jack was one of the greatest high ball hitters in history, he offered Arnold, a low ball hitter, a little bit of advice on how to get the ball up in the air when needed. Arnold thanked Jack, and he tried the advice, but the tip didn’t work.  

It was advice from one of the greatest ever, but it just didn’t work.  It doesn’t mean that the advice wasn’t good; it means that particular advice did not work for that particular person to address a particular need.

Luckily for Arnie, he realized that just because the source of the advice was great, that didn’t mean that the advice would work for him.  He understood it wouldn’t work because he understood himself.  He understood what his strengths were and how he went about doing his job.  He understood his skill set, what he was capable of, and what he was not capable of or not comfortable doing.

It’s the same for us.  None of us are perfect.  None of us are at the peak of all of our skills or abilities in the working world, so we need to be open to suggestions.  We need to be open to guidance and direction.

However, before we take on any advice and try to utilize it exactly how it’s given, make sure we start with an understanding of ourselves.  We need to ensure that what has worked for someone will truly work for us, because we are different people with different skills and abilities and perspectives.  We need to consider the advice and guidance, but make sure we do it with an understanding of who we are.  

When someone gives you a tip, consider it, but consider it through a lens of self-awareness.

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